Electricity Acts, regulations and standards
The electricity industry in South Australia is governed by the Electricity Act 1996 and its associated regulations. In addition, there are standards used by the electricity industry in a variety of areas such as electrical installations and wiring rules.
Electricity Act 1996
The Electricity Act 1996 and its associated regulations provide a legislative framework to ensure that South Australian consumers have access to safe, reliable and quality electricity supply, as well as safe electrical installations in a competitive market.
- promotes efficiency and competition in the electricity supply industry
- promotes the establishment and maintenance of safe and efficient systems for generating, transmitting and distributing electricity
- establishes and enforces appropriate standards of safety, reliability and quality in the South Australian electricity supply industry
- establishes and enforces appropriate safety and technical standards for electrical installations and electricity infrastructure
- protects the interests of South Australian consumers
- The Electricity Act 1996 provides the Office of the Technical Regulator with the authority to enforce the requirements of the legislation and its associated regulations.
Electricity (Principles of Vegetation Clearance) Regulations 2021
The Electricity (Principles of Vegetation Clearance) Regulations 2021 define the legal requirements for vegetation clearance around powerlines. This includes requirements for clearing vegetation around high-voltage transmission lines and lower-voltage distribution lines as well as legal safety limitations for planting trees near power lines.
The regulations aim to minimise the risk of bushfires, damage to power lines and electrical shocks without imposing excessive vegetation clearance.
For more information see:
Electricity (General) Regulations 2012
The Electricity (General) Regulations 2012 define legal safety and technical requirements for:
- electrical installations
- electricity infrastructure
- work on electrical installations
- working near power lines
- clearance from powerlines for buildings and other structures
- The regulations also specify the requirements for issuing electrical certificates of compliance. These are legal documents issued by licensed electrical contractors on the energisation of work on electrical installations.
For more information see:
Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000
The Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000 regulates the sale of selected energy products by:
- establishing requirements for the labelling of energy products to indicate their compliance with applicable safety and performance standards
- imposing labelling requirements to demonstrate the certification of energy products (proclaimed products)
- imposing registration requirements for energy products to indicate their compliance with minimum energy performance standards (MEPS)
- imposing labelling requirements to demonstrate the energy efficiency of energy products.
The Energy Products (Safety and Efficiency) Act 2000 empowers the Office of the Technical Regulator to prohibit the sale or use of unsafe energy products.
Australian standards provide guidelines to the electricity industry in a variety of areas. From time to time, the standards are amended to ensure the most up to date and correct information is included.
Australian standard AS/NZS 3000 - Australian Wiring Rules provides guidance on electrical installations and wiring standards.
Australian standard AS/NZS 5033 - Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays covers the general installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays (eg wiring) and was amended in July 2012. For more information, see the Clean Energy Council's summary of changes to AS/NZS 5033
These standards can be purchased from the SAI Global website along with other associated standards.
Electricity generator planning approval
To obtain development approval, all proposals for new South Australian-based electricity generators with more than five megawatts of generating capacity must meet a number of technical requirements that relate to the state's energy system security and stability.
Development applications must be accompanied by a certificate from the Office of the Technical Regulator that confirms the proposed generator complies with the necessary requirements of the Development Regulations 2008. The Development (Electricity Generators) Variation Regulations 2017 were published in the Government Gazette, No. 33 Tuesday 23 May 2017, from page 1727.
Development applications are determined by the Development Assessment Commission or, where a state agency is undertaking or endorsing the development, the Minister for Planning.
SA Power Networks rules
The SA Power Networks (formerly ETSA Utilities) service and installation rules can be viewed from the SA Power Networks website.